How the Navionics GPS Chips work

There is no surprise to find a seasoned sailor living in his or her boat for a majority of the days in a year. As a sailor you have to rely on chartplotters to find your way because there are no sign posts or traffic lights in the sea. Many modern boats come with these devices, but you can still add your favorite one. A fishfinder integrates GPS information with the electronic navigation chart to allow sailors to see the direction they are going and their exact position at sea.

A sailor has to rely on a company that provides reliable charts/maps for using while at sea. There are companies that specialize in monitoring and mapping the sea so that they can provide the data to sailors through the use of integrated global positioning satellite (GPS) technologies. The whole system works as one, which usually includes an internal GPS.

How does a GPS chip fit the whole picture?

For specific fishing and sailing areas, there are companies best placed to offer maps because they have the experience and expertise to do so like Navionics.  At this point a GPS chip comes in handy, in addition to the GPS/fishfinder.  In addition to giving you current positions relative to the overall sea map, the right chip will also let you do conventional computing with the GPS capabilities to show you the potential location of fish. You can take a photo of your big fish catch, and then geo tag it so that others who view it will know where it was taken from. With that, you can also share it to your social network profile like Facebook and Twitter for friends and followers. The following section will explain the navionics gps chips.

The Navionics GPS chip

ContoursThe fishfinder device used on a boat will have preloaded charts that you use for navigation, together with the GPS chip onboard. It’s the chip that determines what maps you are able to use, and how accurate and clear the maps are. For you to use Navionics charts, you will have to use a Navionics GPS chip. It’s the chip that allows your chartplotter device to communicate with the maps service online on a real time basis. When entering a zone that is only mapped by navionics, you will have to change to Navionics GPS chips, so its always handy to have the chip even if you are not using it fulltime.

The good news is that many modern fishfinders like Raymarine and Furono all support the easy swapping of chips. A good GPS chip will be fast such that when changes from one screen to another on the fishfinder take place immediately. This is a very sensitive property because the boat can be moving at a very high speed and if the fishfinder/sonar takes time to re-write the chart, then you can get lost.

Benefit of the GPS Chip

Instead of having to download and install maps every time you change regions, a Navionics GPS chip lets you tap into the detailed company maps by simply popping in the chip to your fish-finder unit. The GPS chips come with different map details. The simples ones are ideal for just sailing but a fishing enthusiast will need the one that can also locate various utilities such as a port, and the contours, which then tell you whether your boat will fit in some lakes or rivers.  The Platinum line by Navionics is a fishermans dream and gives precise detail in both 2D and 3D modes.

Lakemaster GPS Chips

LakemasterGPS technology has advanced over the years and you can now use it for other purposes other than determining positions or marking waypoints. If you enjoy fishing, a handheld GPS will make it easy to navigate through the waters. An advanced device comes with various comprehensive lake maps, which come in handy when you are fishing. It will guide you to the specific lake you want to visit and even identify certain areas that you may be interested in such as a nearby gas station or a restaurant. Once you arrive at the lake, the device will display navigation information, bottom structure, and depth contours. You can save the routes on a removable media card. This makes it easy to share the routes with friends. To make the most out of your handheld GPS, you need a chip that contains all the information you require. Lakemaster GPS chips are considered the most effective in the market.

Detailed Information

Lakemaster GPS chips are available in SD format. You can use these chips on any compatible handheld GPS device including Lowrance and Humminbird. They have cartographic and topographic details of rivers, lakes, and any other water body you would like to fish in within the United States. These chips will give you information about lunar cycles, fish species, when to go fishing and tides. They provide highly accurate and comprehensive maps, which gives you an advantage when fishing.  Some even provide general fishing spots that have been successful in the past.

How to Use

Once you purchase your Lakemaster GPS chips, find the SD slot on your handheld device. Insert the card and power the device. The device is designed to automatically read the details contained on the card. If “Chart Card” appears on the display, it is confirmation that your device is reading the information.

To get a list of lakes in the area, select the chart card using arrow controls on the device. A drop-down menu will appear. Select the “Lake List” option to get a list of all the lakes. Choose the specific lake you want to show on your display. The chips display shallow water levels in light blue. Dark blue marks indicate deep water. These chips use feet as a default measure.

Lakemaster GPS chips have more details compared to other options in the market. They will offer you the contours of the lake you select while other chips may offer little or no information. Contour lines are important when you are out fishing but you need to combine them with depth numbers to make the right decisions. These chips offer both depth numbers and contour lines and this makes it easy for you to interpret the information. One of the unique features in these chips is their ability to identify shallow waters. You can set the device at any depth you prefer. It is also possible to target a particular depth range when you are fishing. These features save you a lot of time and effort. To get the best out of your chip, you need to get a compatible device. The file format on your chip has to match the device you use.

Common GPS Features on Fishfinders

ContoursGlobal Positioning Systems have become a staple in the lives of people all over the world. From finding directions to new amusement parks to purchasing these devices as gifts for people on special occasions, a GPS is often essential in a wide variety of situations. Though most people may not know how far reaching these systems have transformed certain industries, they may be surprised to find out what they are being used for. One of which is using a global positioning system for finding the best fishing spots. In fact, fishing enthusiasts all over the world are incorporating these devices into their fishing ventures, specifically as a means to enhance their fishing experiences.  Now GPS units can use 3D maps to provide the most accurate information available.  Therefore, when a fisherman is getting ready for one of their fishing trips, they should make sure that they are taking a fishfinder GPS along with them.

A fishfinder GPS is an idea for finding favorite fishing spots all over the country and even abroad. There is a bit of a learning curve when using a GPS, since there are tons of new features that come with a GPS fishfinder. However, as the fisherman becomes more familiar with the features in these electronic devices, they usually become well versed in finding the features that they are looking for. In order to gain the knowledge required, however, each individual will have to do their own homework.


Tracking Features and Accurate Readings


Once the initial difficulty of learning how fishfinders/sonar works along with the GPS system, the user will begin to get an accurate reading of the things that they are trying to track or measure. For instance, the features on a fishfinder will allow the user to mark a variety of different things including underwater structures, creek channels, river patterns, contour breaks, and numerous spots where the fisherman has had great fishing results. In fact, by using specific features on their devices, they can return to the exact same spot whenever they want to go. This information is displayed via an LCD screen.  A great example is the Lowrance structure scan, which overlays past sonar images onto the map providing great detail and information for fishermen.


If the fisherman wants to know a little more background of where they are and what’s going on, they may use the features on fishfinders to provide them with numerous types of information including their current latitudes, longitudes, altitude, and surface speed. Based on the information that they are trying to secure, the fisherman may also view information about the sunrise and the sunset.

In addition to the GPS that is included on a fish finder, Map packs can be bought which give great detail about specific bodies of water.  There are chips that give detail in 1 foot contours on lakes that have been scanned and mapped by the GPS company.  These really provide and edge, for example we use ours fishing out of South Haven for salmon.  Trying to pick out a spot 10 miles off shore where a bait pod will be is made alot easier when you have the contour information at your finger tips.  Alot of times that can be the difference between success and failure.



Since fishfinder’s technology is based on information that is supplied by satellites, its accuracy is not affected by challenging weather. For instance, the user can still obtain accurate information in the fog, dark and even in bad weather. In fact, in emergency situations, the user can also tell people who need the information exactly where they are so that they can receive the help that they need.

By using specific features on a fishfinder, the user can also log the coordinates where the best fish may be found. Thereby, allowing fisherman to study the actual topography of a specific place, especially where they find the fish trolling. For instance, the fisherman can use the track logging feature so that they can go back on their next fishing expedition.

Benefits of a Portable Fishfinder

There is no doubt that fishing is one of the most liked sports and hobbies all across the globe. Due to its popularity the equipment that is used to help while fishing has become more technologically advanced. For instance, fish rods that are currently used are more advanced than those that were use in the past.  A portable fish finder is among the best technological developments that has really revolutionized the fishing industry.  Since now sonar can easily be used in a variety of different situations such as ice fishing, kayak fishing and other situations that requires the versatility of a portable fishfinder.

A portable fish finder is actually a simple tracking device that is used by both amateur and professional fishers to locate and find schools of fish. A portable device can be installed in any type of boat easily and also be disengaged when fishing expedition has been completed. It is sometimes referred to as fishing GPS, when equipped with a GPS antenna and software.  The main aim is to provide data and information, which helps fishermen catch more. Fish finders compose 3 main component systems. They include: a viewing screen, a transducer and GPS systems. All these three system work together to ensure that the fisherman gets actually what he/she wants.

Benefits of a portable fishfinder.

1. Location.

140c fishin buddyAs the name suggest, it is actually a device that is portable and that means that it can be taken with you and used in many different locations. Whether you are just enjoying your regular weekend or you are on your holiday or you are fishing from a location that is land based or fishing from a boat or any other type of water craft, you can use the same fishfinder unit and move between situation with ease. A portable fishfinder is the perfect device to own, personally we use a Humminbird fishinbuddy 140c on our test boat.


2. Flexibility.

Portable fish finder has a transducer that is portable. The function of a transducer is to broadcast the signals that can enable you to locate the school of fish. A transducer also provides coordinates to assist you in moving to the right location. When you find yourself in a location where fishing is difficult having the added information can mean the difference between a successful trip and failure.  Another part of the flexibility is that they can be removed easily.  What that allows is that in situations that would break a regular transducer like shallow water, you can simply take the fishfinder off and not have to worry about ruining your equipment.

3. Ice Fishing.

We are from Michigan, so our ice season usually is from the end of December or beginning of January to the middle of March.  I personally don’t try and push the envelope regarding safety, so some people have a bit longer ice season than I do.  One of the best accessories to have ice fishing is a portable fish finder.  When you ice fish you need to find the fish, which requires alot of holes and searching.  A portable fishfinder can tell you instantly if there is anything down there and how deep you are.  Some units are equipped with side finders, which allow you to take a sonar image to the side of the hole.   What that does is gives a hint how are and in what direction to drill a test hole.  Without a fishfinder the only way to tell if there are fish it to drop a line and try and catch one.  Obviously using a fishfinder versus testing the old fashioned way is much better and catches more fish.
All the major brands offer an ice fishing portable fish finders and its a must have for a serious fisherman.

Various Features of a Quality Fishfinding Unit

A Fishfinder is a device or instrument which is used in locating fish which is under water by utilizing its sound normally in form of reflected pulses.  As technology has advanced, fishfinders have also come along way from just mere flashers to high tech gadgets which can detect fish clearly.  Fishfinders have a number of features which makes it possible to locate fish under water. They may include the following:

Structure Scan

This is an important feature which is found in fishfinders and it operates at very high frequencies of about 800 kHz.   It is through this feature that the fishfinder will be able to show the image on the screen which may be below the boat or on the sides of any vessel that one may be in while fishing. Because of its high frequency, the feature can only show readings when one is in shallow depths of water. The feature comes separately from the main gadget hence must be plugged into the fishfinder for it to perform its roles.

Down Scan Imaging; this is usually abbreviated as DSI. It forms one of the most important features of a fishfinder. DSI operates in the same manner as the structure scan but it is able to locate only those images from the bottom unlike the structure scan which captures images from the sides and bottom. The feature runs at very high frequencies which therefore allow it to capture clearly only those images from shallow depths of water. The frequency of this feature may be lowered and if this is done then it will be able to scout a wider area as opposed to when using high frequencies. On the other hand while using lower frequencies, you can employ zoom as this will make images clearer and better.

Down Imaging

Some waves that are painted on the screen of the fishfinder may not be very clear. By the use of down imaging, one is allowed to zoom and at the same time scout a larger area which will most definitely increase the catch at the end of the day. It is mostly useful when interested in images below the vessel when one is when fishing.

Side Imaging

This side imaging feature is dedicated to images that are on the sides of the boat or the vessel where the fishfinder is. It increases the clarity of the images as it allows the fishfinder to have a wider scouting area and at the same time allows zooming which brings out images of fish clearer. This feature operates at very high frequencies.

Dual Beam

A Fishfinder is equipped with a dual beam which sends beams down the water.  One of the beams is wide and highly concentrated while the other one runs is in between the wider beam thus allowing for the display of the images.  The image can be separate or melded into one thus making it clearer and better for viewing on the display.

Power Displays (screens); after the capture of the fish images, the output is very important and this is made possible through power displays.  A colored display gives best screen definition hence clarity.

Benefits of a Color Fishfinder

When you want to install a fishfinder on your boat, you will want to invest in one of the highest quality devices that you can get. Think about whether you may want to try out a colorized monitor for your fishfinder, since this could prove to be very helpful when you are out on fishing trips. Work with these devices to get the perfect look that you have always wanted to find before. You may be impressed by some of the benefits of a color fishfinder when it comes to locating your next catch. Learn more about how a color monitor can upgrade the way that you search for fish beneath your boat.

First, you may need to understand how you can use a fishfinder if you want to learn why a color monitor may be helpful. These devices can actually perform a quick scan beneath your boat to locate fish at different depths. The monitor will report the results of the scans in real time, which can help you keep track of the fish you want to target. It can also let you know when there aren’t any fish in your area, which is useful information as well. It can prompt you to raise anchor and sail to another body of water nearby.

When you become adept at using a fishfinder, you will note that there are actually many different objects under your boat. Not all of them will be fish, which can be confusing for some anglers out there. Having a high quality, color monitor can help you to distinguish between some different shapes out there. Think about whether you may be able to work with a fishfinder that is actually built to detect these subtle differences. A high quality LCD monitor will enable people to get the help that they need to detect fish beneath their boat.

There are also many fishermen out there that might want to go out during low light conditions. If you want to fish during night or dusk, you may need to get a brightly lit monitor for your fishfinder. Using these color LCD monitors is one of the best ways that you can rely on these detection devices. You can clearly make out the shapes that are swimming beneath your boat, allowing you to catch fish in any conditions. These devices will grant you more visibility than spotlights or lamps will when you are out fishing at night. Think about having one installed before your next night excursion out on your boat.

In all, there are many different benefits of a color fishfinder that sportsmen can expect to get. They may want to try out an LCD monitor that has many different settings as well. When you use a color monitor, some of these devices can provide you with a visualization of water temperatures beneath your boat. This can let you predict whether certain species of fish are likely to be swimming around in an area. It is hard to overstate the importance of having this kind of tool at your disposal when you are fishing for a hobby or as a profession.

What is Side Imaging Sonar?

Side imaging sonar, sometimes referred to as side-scan sonar or bottom classification sonar, is a type of sonar, which is primarily used to efficiently create an image of vast areas of the ocean floor.

The process of using a side imaging sonar involves a marine technique that allows one to see or have a clear image of the ocean floor. This process uses sonar. Sonar is basically sound pulses. These pulses are whlowrance-fishfinder2at are shot across the sea floor from a towed towfish or transducer. Once the sound pulses reach the ocean, river or lake bottoms, they reflect off of reefs or objects. The strength and the travel time of these sound pulses are then recorded and processed to form an image of how the bottom looks like. The technique of using side imaging sonar is almost exactly the same as taking a low angle picture of the sea bed as opposed to an overhead photo through the use of a flashbulb and a white and black film. The thing that makes side imaging sonar different is that there is an illumination of the ocean bed through the use of sound pulses as opposed to light. Because of this reason, side imaging sonar can even work in black or murky waters.


The following video gives a great hands on look at side imaging features, hook and look does a great job here!  Pretty amazing how much detail side imaging gives.


The use of side imaging sonar in the seas, oceans, rivers and lakes has dramatically increased. For those who do large scale fishing, the technology has provided one of the best navigation means. Fishing vessels can now choose paths that hold the best opportunities for large catches. Fish finders now say that through side imaging sonar, they have experienced improved catch loads. This is because like the technology suggests, fishermen can be able to locate large migrations of fish because as the sound pulses move down to the ocean bed, they are affected by this large gatherings of fish. Clear image and sonar pictures also help to assist fishermen.

Side imaging is commonly used by various individuals and institutions to search for shipwrecks, pilings, submerged trees, dumped drums or any other sort of debris that can be found on the sea floor.

In regards to the commercial sector, side imaging sonar can help with underwater inspections of docking berths and shipping channels. In cases of pipeline snags or deviations, side imaging sonar can be used to solve the problem.

For those who regularly spend time on the seas and oceans, doing various forms of fishing or marine activities, the sea or ocean bed is an important aspect. They usually need a clear and extensive view of what is on the bed. Through side imaging sonar, such individuals can map out vast areas of sea and ocean floors.

Side imaging sonar helps to not only detect objects but also give a clear view of the said objects. With today’s technology, sonar has become highly developed and therefore images and pictures are now clearer and more accurate.

Side imaging sonar is currently used globally. Government military institutions are currently use sonar to navigate the ocean bed. They have even gone as far as doing successful rescue operations, saving ship wrecked sailors.

How Do I Install My Fishfinder?

Different anglers have different methods for catching fish and for some, it is their main source of income. Whether you are fishing professionally or simply for recreation, it is essential for you to get a fish finder and also to get it installed on your boat. A fishfinder is a component which helps you in finding the fish easily that is available in the river or the lake where you are fishing. The fish finder can be an a component that you may install in your boat sooner or later as it makes it easy for you to catch fish. It is lucky to have fish finders with binnacle mounted on it along with the transducers that are transom mounted. You can easily install a fish finder by following the steps given below.  I also included this video that I found when mounting some of my own units.  Just remember to take your time and follow the supplied directions as closely as possible.

Installation of Binnacle Mount

Before you start with the job of mounting, you need to find out the location that is best for it to be placed. The fish finder should be placed close to the center that is over helm so that you can get the better viewing angle. The height at which the unit is placed is between the shoulder and waist height. The unit should be away from the electronics box and it should not be hanged down. The helm station should be inspected from underside so that you can make sure that the underneath does not have any kind of obstruction. Once the location is found, you can either user the template associated with the binnacle or the binnacle itself as the template. Drill the holes that are needed for mounting the binnacle. Exit and entry points are required for the wires that are used with the unit. Through the holes insert a bead that is made out of silicon sealant. Secure the bolts to helm and fix the binnacle.

Mounting Transducer

Fix a location for the transducer to be placed on your boat. Mark the location with the marker or pen. The mounting bracket that is used should be in a level. A small drill should be made used for making a starter hole and a larger bit should be made used for creating hole for screws. Wires should be connected from transducer to boat’s inside. The hole that is around wires should be sealed using silicone caulk. The transducer should be attached to boat using and screws that you got along with the fish finder.  Here is helpful guide to installing transducers that I came across while writing this article.

Installation of Fish Finder

The best spot for the installation of fish finder should be found. This location should be sturdy and it should be easily accessible for it’s purpose. Holes should be made for mounting the bracket and then bracket should be attached using screw driver. Fishfinder should be attached to the bracket that is mounted.  Obviously these directions are pretty basic, but it’s best to refer to specific directions provided by the manufacturer.  Look to find a spot where turbulence is at a minimum as this will give you the best results as slow and faster speeds.

Wiring The Fish Finder

12 gauge wire should be made used along with wire connectors for connecting the electrical wire from fish finder either to battery or to the fuse box available in the battery.  If you wire straight to the battery make sure you include an in-line fuse to make sure you protect your unit and to make sure you don’t void any warranties.

Advantages of a Black/White (Gray-Scale) Fishfinder

Fishfinders are used to find and catch fish, and is essential in locating fish beneath the surface of the water.  This tool gives the fisherman the resources to check out the depth,structure,fish locations,speed and also temperature.  The display can be colored or black and uses sonar signals. These locate and report the visual images of both moving and still objects beneath the water surface.  A transducer will convert electronic impulses from the fishfinder to sound waves.  These then travel down through the water.  The sound waves will bounce off the bottom or a fish and the returning echo will be picked up by the transducer, which in turn converts it to electrical impulses.  These impulses are the ones that are sent to the fishfinder where they are converted into a picture or a symbol.

We often get asked……Are color fishfinders are really that necessary?  We think so, but don’t just take our work for it.  I did a little research and found a nice topic at a forum that I frequently visit.  Additionally, here is a list of the advantages of black/white fishfinders:

[list type=”list-style1″]

  • The fishfinder uses modern GPS technology and can charter the location of the boat as it moves on the water.
  • They have an easy to read screen and have the ability to locate fish in all water terrains.
  • Can be used in different weathers like in the rain,in the snow, in ice fishing,on the lakes and rivers.
  • Some of the black and white fishfinders have a noise reduction feature that captures images of fast moving prey.
  • The capabilities are able to point out the exact location of fish by using a temperature gauge especially if it is the spawning time.They have track back capabilities which are inbuilt and can be used to review the movements a boat has made.
  • The fishfinder has a speedometer that can inform you of the speed of the boat.This is necessary information because driving too fast can scare the fish away.
  • The black and white fishfinders are cheaper than the rest.
  • Fishfinders are available in different powers depending on the depth of the waters .If the waters are deep like salt water,a fishfinder with a high peak-to-peak watt can be used.
  • The black and white fishfinders have an option of the amount of pixels depending on the display quality required.In case you want fishfinders that have a better image, then you will have the choice to choose one with a higher pixel.
  • They have a side scan which has the ability to scan the left and right sides of your boat so that you are able to find fish.This increases your knowledge of the surroundings and in turn shows you where there is more fish.
  • The fishfinder can be used to fish as a port,pleasure or commercially.
  • The fishfinders have the ability to tell the difference between the bottom of a body of water and a large rock depending on the strength of the reflected signal.
  • The black and white fishfinder has a number of useful features among them depth alarms,fish alarms,zoom,there is a contrast enhanced clear edge grayscale display.
  • Affords a nice contrast which is easily seen in bright sunlight.
  • The screens are user friendly with easy to read icons .